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Punxsy wins, clinches berth at States

July 28, 2011

Punxsy's Bobby Thompson slides safely into second as he steals a base in the third inning of Punxsy's 33-3 win over Curwensville July 20 in Punxsutawney. Punxsy also won Wednesday's rematch, 15-5. (Zak Lantz/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

CURWENSVILLE — Punxsy's 15- and 16-year old VFW Teener League All-Stars scored 10 runs in the top of the second inning and never looked back, cruising to a 15-5 victory in five innings over Curwensville Wednesday night in Curwensville.

With the victory, Punxsy clinched a berth to the state championships, which will be held Aug. 5-8 in Huntingdon, but Punxsy still has one game to play in the round-robin tournament before it begins practicing for States.

"We're still going down to Philipsburg to win Friday," Punxsy manager Mike Klingensmith said. "Philipsburg lost the other night, giving it two losses, and Curwensville lost to us twice and Philipsburg once, so that puts us in states, but we still want to play hard and win Friday."

Punxsy was held scoreless in the top of the first, and Curwensville scored one run off starting pitcher Matt Burkett, but Punxsy opened the flood gates in its next turn at the plate.

Alex Bevak tripled to start the action for Punxsy. Clayton Dale and Burkett each walked to load the bases, and Punxsy was handed its first run when Shane Little was hit by a pitch, tying the score at one.

Bobby Thompson reached on an error by the pitcher, and Dakota Thomas followed with an RBI single.

Curwensville struggled in the field, committing three errors in the second inning alone.

Bevak closed the third inning for Punxsy the same way he opened it, with another triple, and he scored on a wild pitch to push Punxsy's lead to 10-1.

Curwensville answered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the second when Burkett struggled a bit with his control.

Ricky Magnuson led off the inning with a double, and Burkett walked four batters before Brett Gardner capped the three-run inning with an RBI single.

Punxsy returned fire with four runs in the top of the third, though. Little reached on an error by the second baseman and scored on a double by Thompson, who scored on a sacrifice fly by Thomas.

Michael Klingensmith walked and scored on Ty Zimmerman's triple, and Zimmerman later scored on a passed ball, making Punxsy's lead 14-4.

Curwensville scored another run in the third to cut the lead to nine, but Punxsy scored its final run in the top of the fifth and held Curwensville scoreless in the bottom to win via the ten-run rule.

Burkett pitched two innings to earn the win, allowing four runs on two hits and walking four.

Thomas pitched the final three innings for Punxsy, allowing one run on no hits. He walked one batter and struck out six.

"Matt hasn't been on the mound in a long time, so he did well for us," manager Klingensmith said. "He finished that second inning, and I pulled him out to give him a break. We'll get him back out there. I have a lot of confidence in him and in my entire pitching staff."

Overall, Klingensmith was pleased with his team's performance and is excited to be headed to States.

"The boys hit well tonight, fielded well and the pitching was good," he said. "I know that going down to represent Area 6 for the state tournament, we're going to have to play some good baseball. There'll be some good teams down there, and we'll need good pitching, good hitting and errorless ball. Hopefully, the manager won't screw up, and we'll try to represent Area 6 well and bring a championship home."

Punxsy wraps up the Area 6 tournament Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Philipsburg.

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